The Road to the National Senior Olympics Part 5

Bill Cloninger, a wellness center member at South Franklin Circle, will be competing in the National Senior Games this summer in Cleveland. He is competing in the cycling 5K and 10K time trials. 

When Bill joined the SFC wellness center in 2010, he could barely walk a mile without getting winded. With the help of SFC VP of Wellness Frank Ondus and his staff, Bill is 100 pounds lighter and off blood pressure medication. He follows a strength training regime developed just for him, and began cycling.  For more background on Bill and his South Franklin Circle wellness success story click here.

Part 5:   Race Day – Tri-County Senior Games (Summit, Portage, & Medina Counties) Cuyahoga Valley National Park

May 6, 2013

This is the first set of races of the year.  This morning I raced a 5K cycling time trial and a 10K cycling time trial.  The day dawned with cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 60s. No rain yet. But rain was forecast for this morning.  I really hope it doesn’t rain.

The 5K race is to start at 9:00am and then the 10K will be contested afterward.  The course is on Akron Pennisula Road from Steeles Corners Road north to just beyond Bolanz Road.  The 5K is just straight north, and the 10K has a turn around at the 5K finish and goes back to the start.

I arrive at 7:30am.  I don’t want to be rushed in my preparation for these races.  These races are important to me, as this is my first real test to see how my work at South Franklin Circle over the winter has hopefully made me better, faster and stronger.  Also its my first chance to use my new aero position, from the wind tunnel tests, in a race.  A year ago, I raced on this same course so I have direct results to compare.

After warming up on the wind trainer, I pedal over to the start.  I’m scheduled to be the third rider off.  They have us starting at one-minute intervals.  The plan is to get off to a quick strong start, then settle into a smooth constant pedal cadence of around 100 rpm keeping my wattage output around 230 watts until the last mile then really pound it to the finish.  Everything goes according to plan and with one mile to go, I see Cary Burke, the 54-year-old racer that started one minute before me, just ahead.  I’m going to catch and pass him before the finish.  My time is 7:20, 29 seconds faster than last year.  LaterI find out my time was the fastest of all the racers in the 5K.

The 10K doesn’t go so well.  The plan was to go out at around 210 to 215 watts for the first 2 miles the start ramping it up to be doing the last 2 miles at 240 watts.  The problem with plans work is that you actually have to execute them.  Today, I didn’t.  I held back in the middle third of the 10K, afraid of running out of gas before the finish.  I again passed Cary Burke, who started one minute before me, just after the 10K turn around.  I finished strong, but the middle third was too slow.  I held back too much.  My time was 15:49, the second fastest overall, but I was beaten by Cary MacIsaac, age 62, by 20 seconds.  If I haven’t let up in the middle third, I probably could have beaten him.  So I need to work on the 10K pacing.  Race more and get it “dialed in.”

It was a successful test.  I’m happy that I’m much faster than a year ago and all the work at South Franklin Circle has paid off.  I know what I need to work on and have renewed focus on what I need to do get better.  It didn’t rain, and I won a gold and silver medal to boot! A pretty good day.

Bill Cloninger, left, displays his gold and silver medals with the help of Frank Ondus, vice president of community wellness at Judson.

Read Part 6 of The Road to the National Senior Games

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